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Found 4 results

  1. Hi All, I've been casually taking community wheel-throwing classes for a few years, but because of the pandemic, decided to take the leap and set up my own home-studio. I've got my wheel and kiln all set up and ready to go, it is exciting! Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations for developing a kind of practice schedule for improving the consistency/speed/efficiency of my throwing. I have a vague memory of a teacher long ago saying something like "Throw 10 cylinders everyday" ... does anyone have any more specific ideas for self-training exercises or practice schedules to improve steadily without burning yourself out on cylinders? I'm curious about how "production potters" are trained, could those of you with that kind of training share something about what the training structure was like?
  2. Hi! I have been making pots for about 7 years and in the past 4 have struggled with small s-cracks appearing on the bottom of about 75% of my pots. The s-cracks are usually around a half inch long, thin, and only on the underside of the pot - never go all the way through and therefore the pots are all fully functional, just annoyingly cracked. In the photo attached, you'll see 3 cracked pots, and 2 planters that did not crack. My theory is that something is amiss in the center of my pots that causes stress & cracking during drying - because typically, when I make planters that have the centers removed, cracks do not appear. The cracks don't show up to my knowledge til after the bisque fire (though because my studio fires my pottery, there are usually a few days that I'm not seeing the piece before it's loaded in the kiln.) I have tried just about every remedy I can get my hands on and still can't manage to kick these cracks to the curb. My current regimen is: 1. Wedge each piece of clay (ram's head) 40x each. 2. Align clay on wheel so the spiral-y part is horizontal per this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7oIZiXmXFU 3. Tap clay to center and use a finger to create a seal between clay and bat. 4. Add water, press down on the clay and get into flat hockey puck-ish shape. 5. Cone up and down three times. I make sure my cone is very cylindrical, with the bottom being almost as narrow as the top, which I read was important for preventing cracking. I make the top of the cone teeny-tiny and focus on getting air bubbles out of that portion. 6. During coning down process, I bring the piece back into a hockey puck shape and run my finger across the top towards the center, occasionally finding air bubbles there. 7. Bring out the walls and compress bottom religiously with my thumb, a kidney rib and my sponge. About 10 times, compressing from the outside of the base to the center. Occasionally, I'll feel little air bubbles during this step and will continue compressing until I've popped them. 8. Continue to compress and flatten bottom as I shape the piece. I don't let water sit in the piece. 9. Let the piece dry slowly and evenly on absorbent surface like canvas or foam (covered after a few hours). Dry with bottoms up once sturdy enough to stand. Something I've noticed: Often when I use the wire to take pieces off the bat, there is a small air pocket right in the center of the clay that appears both on the remaining clay on the bat (picture attached), and on the piece itself. The indentation in the bottom center of the piece is never more than 1/16-1/8 of an inch deep I'd say. It's something I trim off later in the process, but seems to correlate with the pots that end up cracking. A hypothesis: Could I be creating these air pockets during the coning up process? I.e. as I press the clay in & up the bottom air pocket forms? Maybe making my cone so cylindrical is part of the problem? Another potential hypothesis: My wedging is bad and introduces too many air bubbles. Would I be better off using clay straight from the bag? (Or, sigh, trying to get better at wedging?) Last note: I prefer a flat bottom to a footed bottom. It's possible I get less cracks when I trim feet, but I haven't really investigated. Any advice you have on ending this years-long struggle would be so, so appreciated! S-Crack Photo Bat with Air Bubble
  3. Hi folks, I have been thinking a lot of late of the types of things that would be good experiences for beginning throwers, withing to improve their throwing skills. so a few listings of ideas in this thread would be helpful for anyone wishing to develop greater throwing skills and control on the wheel. Basic 9" cylinder with 3# of clay. This should have a flat bottom, evenly compressed, side walls tapering slightly in thickness to the rim that should be slightly thicker than the side walls at the top. Cut several vertically in half to gauge your progress using a cutting wire from the base to the top. 8" diameter bowl with 3# of clay. Remember that a true bowl has a rounded interior, so when opening up develop a rounded bottom instead of a flat bottom as in the cylinder. Again cut several of these in half to check progress. Always remember that a bowl will need extra thickness at the base to support the outer walls from collapsing. 10" plate with 3# of clay. Begin using softer clay, and make careful compression across the area of the plate, as the biggest problem with plates is the lack of compression causing "s" shaped cracks. Basic + Hump Vessel- small cup off of tennis ball size piece of clay. Throw several off of a 4-6# Ball of clay, center the entire ball as much as possible into a cone, then center the top portion of the cone into a tennis ball size, well centered. Throw a cylinder shape, use a rib to define the base, and cut from wheel with a cutting wire, and remove to a bat. Repeat until all of the ball is used up. Bowl-throw several bowls using a baseball sized ball of clay off of a 4-6# hump of clay. Try to make the form a bowl shape, cut and remove as in the vessel, and check progress. Apple baker-Start this form with a baseball sized piece of clay. Open the form as in a bowl, slightly away from center leaving a center stem area. Open the center stem area and pull upwards into narrow cone, close the cone with your fingers, necking inward. Then finish shaping the outer bowl area. cut and remove from the wheel. Check progress with these also to assess the two pulled shapes in the single form. These are just thoughts and I wouldn't have had the apple baker in this list until lately. However, I do believe that the simplicity and complexity of the form will help to improve throwing skills of anyone wishing to advance their skill level. Please feel free to add projects that you believe that will advance throwing skills for a beginner, intermediate, or advanced thower. best, Pres
  4. From the album: Copper Dolphin Studio

    A shelf full of my dad's pots. I think he's made as many this week as he has in the whole past YEAR. He overcame a huge hurdle when he started throwing left handed, even though he's right handed. His pots have changed and improved in leaps and bounds. I'm almost as excited for him as if it was me making this progress.
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